The symbolical thinking of Romanos the Melodist
The symbolical thinking of Romanos the Melodist.
Thèses de doctorat,
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This study attempts, for the first time, to give a symbolical analysis of the oeuvre of Romanos the Melodist, the famous hymnographer of sixth-century Constantinople, based on the French edition of the 60 authentic kontakia established by Grosdidier de Matons. Its objective is to throw a new light on the symbolical structures of Romanos' theological thinking. This has been achieved by analyzing the images and metaphors which he uses in order to describe Salvation accomplished in Christ or to exhort his audience to live truly according to the promises made at baptism. Some networks of symbols are explained here : the set of symbols around the springtime of resurrection, the tree and the fruit, the oil and the horn, and images of spiritual edification like the stone and the house. Then, a longer section is devoted to the large field of medical symbolism, which was already one of Ephrem's favourites. He was certainly a major influence for the bilingual Greek-Syriac deacon, alongside Jacob of Serugh, a Syrian bishop from the late fifth century. Like Romanos, Jacob was more of a preacher and less interested in the doctrinary conflicts of his time, and was entirely devoted to the spiritual edification of his audience. His influence on Romanos is revealed in many places in the hymns, and further studies will certainly enhance this even more as we get to know Jacob of Serugh better and better. In the end of this study the symbolism of clothing is expounded, which is characteristic of Syriac Christianity, before an excursus on the ancient sun symbolism. The conlusion offers a glimpse on a fragment of a kontakion about Romanos the Melodist himself, a saint of the oriental Church.
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